I Turned to God Out of Bitterness, Too!?!?

             Senator Obama’s recent remarks about how bitter Americans are these days and how we have turned to God out of that bitterness resonates with me. I did turn to God out of bitterness. At least in some ways. How? 

            For one, I was bitterly scared of going to hell. But all my professors would tell me was that there was no hell. I should get over it. I tried. Hard. But the idea that I might get out there after this life and have to go to hell for reasons I could quite well imagine remained. Why didn’t anyone have an answer to that one among the world’s most intelligent people at the university I attended? 

            Why was my father paying a fortune to have me learn this stuff? I was kind of bitter about it. I don’t know if my father was, though. He never said much about the bills except to say, “You’re good for another semester.” Had to love the guy about that. 

            For another, I was bitterly enslaved by guilt. Every time I slept with a girl, which I was told was the natural and wholesome thing to do, I felt guilty. Everyone said it was a mirage, nothing to worry about. It would go away in time, a leftover from my church upbringing. But it didn’t go away. Not when I lied to friends about this and that. Not when I cussed my head off and got the nickname in my fraternity of “Guttermouth.” Not when I did drugs and got drunk incessantly. Always, always there was this little voice somewhere deep down inside me saying things like, “Why do you do this to yourself? It’s stupid.” And, “This is wrong. You’re going to feel real bad in the morning, and afternoon, and night.”  And, “If your family saw you doing these things, they would be ashamed.”

            Why was that voice always there no matter how many times I told it to go away or that it wasn’t real or that it was just superego ranting I should simply ignore? 
            Another bitter element for me was how anytime I mentioned things like, “What is truth?” people always said, “There is no truth, you make it up as you go along.” When I said things like, “Either there is a God, or there isn’t. Both statements can’t be true,” my erudite professors intoned, “If it’s true for you, it’s true. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks.”

            When I tried to argue about logic and things like that, they just said, “If there’s a God, why is the world so messed up?” 

            “Yeah,” I said, “I want to know the answer to that one, too.” 
            They just shrugged and turned to the next part of the lecture. 

            Sheesh. All I wanted to know was the facts, reality, you know, those kinds of things. But all I was told was, “Go get laid. That’ll make you feel better.” Or, “Just do something fun this weekend to take your mind off all this garbage.” I was quite bitter about that. Wasn’t college where I was supposed to learn about life, justice, meaning, purpose? No, it was all, “What matters to you is all that matters.” But I didn’t know what mattered to me. And what did matter, finding out the truth, was just “stupid” since there was no way to find it or know it.

            So I was pretty bitter about that, too. 

            For a long while, it seemed no one had any real answers to anything. They couldn’t even agree on if Shakespeare really wrote Shakespeare.

            So in the end, I said to God, “Just tell me the truth. That’s all I want. If it’s Hinduism, fine. I’ll take it. If it’s Buddhism, that’s okay. Or whatever. Just show me the truth.” 

            He took me at his word. He showed me what the Bible said about Jesus, God, reality, purpose, heaven, hell, everything. I was shocked out of my gourd. In it there were real answers, grounded in history to my amazement. So I said to Jesus, “Okay, you’ve got me. I’m yours. I’ll follow you wherever.” 

            He said, “Go back to your college and tell them about me.”  (I had graduated by them).  

            So I did. Old friends called me “condescending,” “arrogant,” “cocky,” “a fanatic,” “off my nut,” and “just looking for a psychological crutch.” 
            Some people did listen. But when I explained the gospel to one, he just said, “It’s too simple. That can’t be the truth.” 

            I think he went away kind of bitter.  

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